The owners of Shane Homes have filed a $1-million lawsuit against Canadaland following a published investigation that alleged they helped fund a plot to oust former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi by entrapping him into accepting illegal Russian money.
Canadaland, the news site that reported on the alleged scheme, said "Operation Peacock'' was orchestrated by political strategists and political fixer David Wallace and was backed by local business interests.
A statement of claim has been filed at the Calgary Courts Centre by Shane Wenzel and his mother, Edith, alleging they were defamed in the Canadaland online publication and on its podcast.
Defendants include Canadaland, publisher Jesse Brown, reporter Cherise Seucharan, Wallace and Prem Singh.
None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court and no statements of defence have been filed.
According to Canadaland, Wallace said he was hired by developers and conservatives in 2019 with a plan to set up a scenario that would put politicians in a compromising position and then record them accepting favours.
Nenshi took no money.
'Conspiracy' between Singh, Wallace
Canadaland's stories suggested the Wenzels helped fund the plot through Singh, who is described as a political fundraiser. Singh also runs a not-for-profit organization for developing political trainees.
"The Wenzels have, from time to time and as a gesture, provided financial support to fund Singh's organizations," reads the statement of claim.
The lawsuit alleges Singh and Wallace conspired to trick the Wenzels into giving money.
"The conspiracy between Ms. Singh and Mr. Wallace was planned and intended for the predominant purpose of inducing the Wenzels to donate money to Ms. Singh for purposes of which the plaintiffs were unaware."
The lawsuit claims the Wenzels have suffered reputational damages and says they have been subjected to "ridicule, hatred and contempt."
Calgary police say they are investigating the alleged plot to entrap Nenshi.